Galapagos Wildlife: The American Flamingo

Can you spot the other flamingo?

It is estimated that there are less than 500 flamingos throughout the Galapagos archipelago. They can be found on several islands, and we were very lucky to be able to observe them on 3 different occasions on Isabela and Santa Cruz. Flamingos feed in shallow brackish water or saline lagoons and must be approached with extreme care, especially during their breeding season from May-August. They lay one egg and can live up to 40 years, which is quite long for a bird!

The 2 birds pictured above were spotted in a brackish lagoon near Bachas beach on Santa Cruz. This area must be visited with a naturalist guide and we did so as part of a day tour to Seymour Norte. As we stood watching a group of 5 flamingos feeding, they began calling to one another with their loud, goose-like honking. One of the flamingos that was in a different part of the lagoon began making its way towards the others. It walked right in front of us, and as I was closest to the waterline, I got a really good look. It couldn’t have been more than 4 or 5 feet away. We all stayed completely still, unable to believe our luck!

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